NOTE: This years Race for Life Event will be held at Waterford Oaks BMX Track on Friday Night July 15, 2017. Please come out and support a good cause.
THE LEGEND OF WATERFORD OAKS BMX
Waterford Oaks is a track rich in BMX history; not only both as an ABA and NBL track, but also with the UCi and USA Cycling. Opened in 1974, Waterford is the second oldest BMX track in the World. They operated as an ABA track up until 1984, and had been NBL ever since. Today Waterford is a USA-BMX track. In 1994, Waterford hosted the UCi World Championships, and in 2007, they held the very first ever USA Cycling U. S. National. But aside from putting on some major league races, the biggest legacy that Waterford Oaks is partly responsible for, is being the original home of the ABA’s Race for Life.
TODD KINGSBURY’S LEGACY
In Michigan, an 11 year-old Waterford Oaks local named Todd Kingsbury was leading in District Points. Today, he would be described as your typical “hardcore BMX racer.” Todd loved racing. But something was awry. In the course of the summer, Todd went from winning mains to struggling to make it out of his motos. By late July, at the Michigan State Championship Todd crashed. Although his arm hurt, it checked out fine and nothing was broken. But for the following weeks, it kept hurting. After getting bumped at school, his arm swelled up-a LOT. Concerned, his parents rushed him to the docs for a detailed checkup. After spending the next nine days at the hospital, the news came. And it wasn’t good. Todd Kingsbury was diagnosed with Leukemia. And was now in the biggest race he’d ever entered. The race for his life.
BMX RACING TAKES ON THE FIGHT
The American Bicycle Association quickly learned of the situation and pitched in to help. As it still is today, the BMX world of tight-knit families and friends all united for this cause. To help in the fight against Leukemia was truly BMX’s first – and now longest lasting, charity. The first Race for Life was held in 1981, and spread to tracks all around the country. All proceeds went to the National Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help in their search for a cure. That first year raised over $223,000, and that number has steadily climbed each year, for the past 30 years. Todd was able to race that day, at the now historic Race for Life at his home track. The disease had taken a lot out of him, but he kept riding; some say harder than anyone out there. On that day, he was declared Waterford’s Honorary Race Director. While the sad news in this story is that Todd passed September 13, 1981 – at the young age of 12, the happy ending to this tale is that his legacy and our sports’ memory of him, still lives on today, 30 plus years later.
Todd Kingsbury was laid to rest in his Factory Powerlite uniform. A life cut short at 12, Todd has left a legacy with BMX that continues to this day, as racers, families, friends, and tracks dedicate one day each season for the fight against the disease which claimed the life of a Waterford Oaks local.
Todd Kingsbury is why USA BMX is so dedicated to this important cause; the Fight against Leukemia & Lymphoma.